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March 13, 2013
Federal agencies mulling guidance on violence policies

Federal agencies have 4 months to develop or modify a policy to address domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking of the workforce. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued guidance on the content of such policies as directed by the White House.

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According to Director John Berry, the OPM will work with other agencies, including the U.S. Department of Labor, to assist in the development of violence policies. They will offer a series of webinars on topics including the impact of domestic and sexual violence in the workplace, the role of employers in responding to such events, and the components of a workplace response.

The OPM guidance document cites Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics indicating that one in four women and one in seven men in the United States have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.

The effects spill over to the workplace in numerous ways, resulting in significant costs and safety concerns. The CDC estimates that violence, assault, and stalking cost nearly $8 billion a year in lost productivity and earnings and increased healthcare costs.

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